Summer time at Deep Creek Lake means lots of vacationers and boat traffic but for those who fish the early mornings or find refuge in back coves the fishing can be very enjoyable. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, large yellow perch and walleye can be found along deep grass bed edges in about 12’ to 15’ of water and outside floating docks or rocky points. During the day flipping soft baits or other lures under docks and moored boats can really pay off with largemouth bass that are holding in the shade. Many of the quieter coves such as Glade Cove offer good fishing for largemouth bass, bluegills and chain pickerel. Alan Klotz sent in this report about taking a week off to fish with his children; it is quite a report. I took a week’s vacation to go fishing with the kids before school starts up – here are some highlights of our trip that you may inspire you to share some quality time fishing with your children:
We started out fishing for smallmouth bass in the Youghiogheny River Wild and Scenic Corridor upstream of Friendsville. You can park in the town and walk the Kendal trail a couple miles to fish and view this beautiful river. Smallmouth bass are the predominate native game fish in the Youghiogheny River, and we caught a few nice scrappers on crayfish crank-baits. Broadford Lake in Oakland was our next destination – and this water body is loaded with panfish! Just using a small piece of night crawler and a small bobber, we caught a lot bluegills, pumpkinseeds, and yellow perch in a few hours, and kept just enough for a good fish fry.
John Mullican, MD DNR Potomac River Manager, invited Jessica, Kyle, and myself to fish the Potomac River in Washington County in order for them to experience something new. John took us to a good smallmouth bass spot, and soon both Jess and Kyle landed some nice strong fighting Potomac River smallies. Kyle caught a thick 15 inch bass using a frog crank-bait that was sitting unused in my tackle box for years! The next spot was good holding water for walleye, and John advised using a whole night-crawler fished with a 1/8th ounce jig-head. Unbelievably Kyle’s first walleye was a 25 inch specimen, and it did give him quite a fight he will not soon forget!
As luck would have it, Don Cosden, Director of Inland Fisheries, invited us down to fish for stripers, as part of the Diamond Jim tagging team. It was a first time fishing the Bay for the kids, and what an experience! Both Jessica and Kyle caught their first striped bass and bluefish trolling spoons near breaking fish, and Kyle was even lucky enough to catch a beautiful Spanish mackerel.
Back to Western Maryland, we fished Deep Creek Lake using medium golden shiners fished under slip-bobbers in 10 – 12 feet of water, and we caught good numbers of smallmouth bass and rock bass (or goggle-eyes). We even caught a couple of the big bluegills Deep Creek Lake is known for. On our last day of fishing we set out to one of the Savage River Watershed trout streams managed under the Zero Creel Limit for Brook Trout. No bait is allowed on these streams to reduce angler-induced mortality on our largest intact brook trout population in Maryland. We had an absolutely great day of fishing, Kyle caught and released many nice-sized brook trout that were all lightly hooked on spinning tackle and artificial lures, and they lived to fight another day.
Well there you have it – Kyle caught 101 fish, 12 different species, from the mountains to the Bay, Brook Trout to Bluefish, (or Rock Bass to Rockfish) all within one week in Maryland!
Alan also sent some exciting news for trout fishermen that may be suffering from the summer doldrums. The North Branch Potomac River received 265 rainbow trout donated from the Freshwater Institute – and were stocked at Bloomington/Westernport; Barnum; and the lower C&R Section downstream of Blue hole. These fish were lunkers in the three to five pound range. Also, the WV DNR will be conducting their annual summer trout stocking in the Barnum Area this week.
John Mullican sent us this report from the upper Potomac this week. Recent thunderstorms have brought much needed water to the upper Potomac River and its tributaries. Smallmouth bass and walleye have responded and are taking a variety of lures with consistency. Grubs, tubes, and crayfish imitating crankbaits have been solid producers. With just a few sites left to do, our annual assessment of the smallmouth bass hatch is nearly complete. High flows and muddy water during the spring spawning season resulted in poor fry survival. Not surprisingly, this year’s hatch is well below average throughout the Potomac watershed.
Fishing at the Conowingo Dam pool and below has been good for a mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and even walleye recently due to the continuing cool water releases at the dam for afternoon/evening power generation. Casting a variety of crankbaits, swimming minnow lures and grubs have been favored baits to use recently.
Largemouth bass fishing in the central region reservoirs and lakes continues to be good with a typical summer pattern of fishing. The bass are shallow during the early morning and evening hours as they prowl the shallow areas for food. Brighter sunlight is forcing them to deeper and more shaded cover such as thick grass beds and sunken wood or even under docks. Soft plastics, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the ticket for reaching them at these locations. The tidal rivers are seeing water temperatures now well above 80-degrees and largemouth bass tend to be concentrated in the thick grass; especially in the tidal Potomac. This type of fishing calls for stout tackle since you’ll be often hauling in a ball of grass with your fish.
The smaller ponds and lakes can really offer some fine fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills this time of the year. It is a great time to fish them after work when temperatures cool and fish are moving around. Jana Garcia holds up a largemouth bass she caught in a small Columbia, Maryland lake before releasing it.
Fisheries biologist Tim Grove sent in this report from the southern region. Summer is in full swing here in southern Maryland and water temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s. Despite the warm temperatures, fish have been hungry. Anglers competing in bass tournaments on the Potomac River have had successful catches. This past weekend, the Professional Veterans held their annual tournament at Smallwood State Park. They fished through the heat and heavy rain storms but, landed several hundred bass and a few snakeheads between them. The veterans had a good time testing their angling skills. Seeing these brave men and women made me thankful for the sacrifices they have made. Many of them had suffered severe wounds and/or loss of limbs during their service. If you know or see a vet, consider thanking them for their service to our country.
Southern region personnel participated in a hook and line survey in the Potomac. We collected about a dozen bass and a few other species during our efforts. A couple of snakehead were also observed in the grass beds, but were not willing to accept our lures.
If you are looking for a fun place to take a child fishing during these “dog days” of summer, look at the spillways of some of your local ponds and lakes. Several species of fish tend to gravitate to these areas, especially the deeper plunge pools where the water is a little cooler and more oxygenated. Take a container of night crawlers and some number 6 or 8 hooks and try it. Some fish might be small, but a fish is a fish to small children when the fishing is difficult in other areas.
Lazy summertime days prevail as we find ourselves in the beginning of August. Just as many fishermen avoid the mid-day heat; fish such as largemouth bass are doing the same. Find cool water and you’ll find the largemouth bass. They will be seeking out cool shade during the day which usually means shaded cover such as trees, docks, thick grass or sunken wood. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics dropped close to them will often elicit a strike. The most savvy tidal river fishermen also know to look for feeder creeks that often bring cooler water into a tidal river. At times largemouth bass and other species will nose themselves into the mouths of these creeks to lounge in the cool water.
Watersheds such as the Pocomoke offer some of the finest largemouth bass fishing this time of the year because their shaded waters with good watersheds tend to run cooler. Largemouth bass remain in a more active mode during the morning hours often well into late morning before retiring to cooler shade.
Fishing for catfish offers a good alternative for fishermen this time of the year. Many of the eastern regions tidal rivers hold good populations of channel catfish such as the Chester, Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers. There are also increasing numbers of small to medium sized blue catfish being caught in the mouth of the Marshyhope Creek where in flows into the Nanticoke River.
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
Reservoir Bathymetry information:
The Maryland Geological
Survey has bathymetry maps on their website:
Links to freshwater flows:
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls near Parkton.
Latest real time stream flow for
Gunpowder Falls At Glencoe.